Irony's not dead; it's just lame. And Dave Grohl may have proved it once and for all with his newest project. Probot
consists of the Foo Fighters frontman playing all the instruments on a bunch of metal tunes, with a different guest vocalist on each. Thankfully, Grohl doesn't treat metal with the tongue-in-cheek condescension of twerps like Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, who make fun of the music because they can't admit they love it. Instead, he tries sincerity -- a quality so rare these days that it feels like a slap in the face. On paper, this project seemed to tempt disaster, but Grohl pulls it off with flying colors, perfectly tailoring each song to its guest stylistically as well as sonically. His skill in varying the recording's character from song to song -- a shimmying guitar riff on "Centuries of Sin," compressed drums on "Dictatosaurus," etc. -- cannot be overstated.
But a lot of Probot's fun comes from listening blind to the whole thing and trying to figure out who's singing what. Among others, D.R.I.'s Kurt Brecht, Voivod's Snake, Lemmy, Celtic Frost's Tom Warrior, Soulfly's Max Cavalera, King Diamond and Cathedral's Lee Dorrian appear. In some cases, it's obvious who's who; in others, it's not so easy to guess. Surprisingly, Grohl didn't always have a particular vocalist in mind when he came up with the foundation of a song. He also didn't interfere creatively once the tapes left his hands, preferring to be surprised by the results.
Probot is no novelty album. But it still makes a great party record -- especially for the slightly aged headbanger. In some cases, Grohl even comes up with material that's more kick-ass than anything the guests' home bands have done in years. All hail Probot!